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Sunday, April 21, 2024

American Apparel and Footwear Association asks Bangladesh to stop detention of RMG workers

The issue of exploitation and persecution of RMG workers has not settled yet and still resonates in international circles particularly the United States, a major RMG buyer of Bangladesh.

In a recent development the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) in a letter to BGMEA asked them to join our calls for the Bangladesh government to release all those who were arrested during the fall 2023 protests and to withdraw all criminal charges.

The American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), has called on the Bangladesh government to stop detaining readymade garment (RMG) workers who were involved in labour protests demanding a minimum wage hike last year.  The AAFA President and Chief Executive Officer Stephen Lamar made the call in separate letters to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) outgoing President Faruque Hassan.

He urged BGMEA to request the Bangladesh government to conduct a thorough investigation and ensure accountability for those implicated in the violence that resulted in fatalities and injuries among protesting workers.

“We are concerned over criminal charges brought against labour organisers, such as Jewel Miya, who was arrested for advocating for higher wages,” Lamar said.

In this regard the AAFA president urged Faruque Hassan and its members to withdraw all first information reports lodged against the workers to remove any further threats of arrest against thousands of workers and prevent future harassment. “In turn, these efforts will only strengthen and grow our mutually beneficial partnership,” he stated.

The AAFA represents more than 1,000 famous brands, which collectively clock more than $490 billion in annual US retail sales.

Faruque Hassan acknowledged getting the letter. He said BGMEA would need the names of the workers against whom a claim of detention and a threat of custody has been made to take action in this regard. He further said there were some police cases against the workers for alleged involvement in the protests, which have already been withdrawn.

“However, in the cases where workers who were found to be involved in vandalising and looting factories, beating up senior officials, the owners may choose to continue the police cases,” he added.

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